The CEO of Ashley Madison has resigned

Ashley Madison founder Noel Biderman

REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Ashley Madison founder and former CEO Noel Biderman.

Following a devastating hack that leaked more than 30 million users' data online, the founder of Ashley Madison has resigned.

Noel Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media, the parent company of extramarital affairs site Ashley Madison, is stepping down, the company announced Friday. He is no longer with the company.

"This change is in the best interest of the company," Avid Life Media said in a statement, "and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees."Advertisement

The controversial dating site had been hacked into by an as-yet unidentified hacker or hackers going by the name "The Impact Team" last month, and threatened to leak user and company data online unless the company closed down Ashley Madison.

Earlier this month, The Impact Team made true on its promise. It leaked first a trove of internal documents and the details of more than 30 million users before following it up with a larger leak, including tens of thousands of Biderman's emails.

The user data has the potential to be highly compromising, including email addresses, financial details, physical descriptions, and detailed sexual preferences. Following the leak, there have already been numerous reports of blackmail attempts, as well as initial divorce proceedings.
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The future of Ashley Madison - and Avid Life Media - looks in doubt. The company is facing catastrophic reputational damage and multiple lawsuits, suing the company for hundreds of millions of dollars. With current revenues of a little more than $100 million per year, these lawsuits - if successful - would wipe the company out.

It has been an abrupt and shocking change of fortunes for the company, which just months ago was discussing the possibility of an IPO on the London stock exchange.Biderman, who launched Ashley Madison in 2001, has stayed silent since the initial leaks, refusing all interview requests. He has been hit by a number of uncomfortable revelations since the leak of his email archive, including the fact that he appeared to urge another executive to hack into a competitor, apparently cheated on his wife, and once tasked someone with building an app that lets users say how much they would pay to sleep with other users' wives.Advertisement

The announcement from Avid Life Media does not include a statement from Biderman.

Here's the full statement:

STATEMENT FROM AVID LIFE MEDIA - August 28, 2015

Effective today, Noel Biderman, in mutual agreement with the company, is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) and is no longer with the company. Until the appointment of a new CEO, the company will be led by the existing senior management team.Advertisement

This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees. We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base.

We are actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members' privacy by criminals. We will continue to provide access to our unique platforms for our worldwide members.

We are actively cooperating with international law enforcement in an effort to bring those responsible for the theft of proprietary member and business information to justice.Advertisement

This story is developing ...

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